There are many roads to becoming a writer. But whether you’re an autodidact or an MFA candidate, one thing you surely are if you aim to become a writer is a passionate reader. Regardless of what structures we employ to sharpen our craft, consuming as many books as possible is a necessity.
There are all kinds of ways to find your next good book: your local bookstore, your favorite magazine (The books section in O Magazine is half the reason I subscribe), your bookish friends, social media, and of course, blogs. The latter has been an underutilized source for me, a problem I’d like to remedy. The world of books is vast, and the more diverse your sources of discovery, the better informed you will be.
The world of book blogs can feel overwhelming, but engaging with the passionate souls who tend them is worth the effort. Book blogs often don’t use the stringent review structure of more traditional review sections like The New York Times so it’s important to find those with an approach and voice that suite your tastes.
Beth Fish Reads: A well-written and extremely savvy book blog from a freelance book editor, reviewer, and journalist. In addition to reviews, interviews, and guest posts from authors, she has a weekend cookbook feature and Imprint Fridays, where she focuses on the offerings from a specific publishing imprint. This blog is as well-curated as it is delightful.
Liz & Lisa: The blog of co-authors and lifelong best friends Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke is a great stop if you love contemporary women’s fiction. These are the gals you wish would start a book club in your neighborhood. You won’t find critical reviews here, they save their space for the stuff they love and want to recommend. They cover most traditionally published work, but occasionally will cover some of the self-published gems, which can be especially hard to get wind of. Chick lit with plenty of brains and heart is what these gals are all about.
She Reads: Founded by authors Marybeth Whalen and Ariel Lawhorn in 2009, what started as an online book club has become a thriving community hotspot featuring book recommendations, author interviews, book discussion, and book-related recipes. If you’re looking to win your next book club meeting (and why wouldn’t you be?) this is the place for you.
Book Patrol: Managed by Seattle-based longtime bookseller Michael Lieberman, this site features not only the standard reviews and interviews, but a host of other bookish delights from Hemingway-inspired t-shirts to vintage cover art, and much more. It’s the internet equivalent of spending an hour roaming around your favorite quirky local bookstore.
The Book Wheel Blog: This blog features mostly book content with a dash of pop culture, all written in the author’s fun, approachable style. Blogger and book lover Allison (who works as a shark conservationist) is like that unpretentious friend you can both discuss literary fiction with but also won’t judge you for watching Bravo. And she knows about sharks so…not going to lie, I just kind of want to have brunch with her.
Next up: Blogs to Help You Manage Your Life (so you can make time for writing)